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Are You In A Mixed Marriage?

Someone observed that marriage is like horseradish - men praise it with tears in their eyes. Marriage can bring tears of joy. . .or tears of pain and grief. Next to the Lord, a good marriage partner can be the greatest help we have in life. As the old marriage ceremony says, husbands and wives can halve life's sorrows and double life's joys and pleasure. Scripture and observation bear out that building a strong, happy, effective and enduring marriage is one of life's greatest challenges. Christian mates face the same difficulties and barriers to a happily married life that non-Christians do, but they have the advantage of being united in commitment to Christ and in involvement in the church of the Lord. These factors do not automatically eliminate all the trials and tears, but they do keep both mates pulling in the same direction. Commitment to Christ helps to keep them committed to the same values and goals and priorities. If you are married to a committed Christian whose number one priority is to honor and glorify God and get to Heaven, and to help you and your children and others do the same, consider yourself blessed and thank God, whatever else you have or don't have in life!

Many wonderful, devoted Christians find themselves in a "mixed marriage." That is, married to a husband or wife who is not a devoted Christian. What is God's will for a Christian in this kind of situation? The apostle Paul gave this inspired directive — "If any brother has a wife who does not believe, and she is willing to live with him, let him not divorce her. And a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy" (1 Corinthians 7:12-13). This passage makes clear that being in a mixed marriage is not a reason to leave your mate or seek a divorce. God recognizes the sanctity of the marriage in spite of the fact that one of His children is joined to one who is not a child of God. God's will for a Christian in a mixed married is clear — stay put! Don't give up and don't bale out of the marriage. God will honor you if you honor Him in your marriage and home, even if your mate is not a Christian. Love your mate. Live the Christian life. Set a good example. Seek to win him or her to Christ through a thoughtful, prayerful, beautiful and winsome Christian life. According to 1 Peter 3: 1ff, you can preach Christ to your non-Christian mate without ever saying word! Don't cave in and don't call it quits. Persist. Persevere. Always pray (Luke 18:1). But what if your non—Christian partner threatens to leave you unless you leave the Lord? "If the unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. But God has called us to peace" (1 Corinthian 7:15). A Christian must never leave Christ, even in a mixed marriage where it might mean losing a mate.

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ